Out of Office - Book of the Month
by Mark Piggott
Set in London in a heatwave around the time of the 2012 Olympics, OUT OF OFFICE predicts a city running out of restraint. Terrorists vie with the underworld and religious fanatics of all hues and beliefs are running amok. East London is one enormous building site, full of the noise of metal on metal and drill-bits on paving.
Chris Hook is a thirty-something reporter and PR man on a local newspaper. He had once won the regional award for Journalism that Promotes Racial Harmony (London East Region), but he has forgotten much of what he wrote. He lives in Islington at the Liddle Towers and he thinks his mid-life crisis is getting out of hand. His abstinence is crumbling, he has a cocaine/Librium habit, and his liver feels like a dead badger. At dinner parties with his attractive second wife he is expected to hate Jews and yanks but down the pub and greasy spoon he's expected to hate Pakis and queers. He suspects his wife is cheating and his daughter inhabits teenagerland. He considers castration as an option: freedom to investigate life's eternal mysteries and begin to understand the female sex, instead of his frequent and unpredictable erections. Or there is always suicide: one which seems 100% genuine but is 100% guaranteed to fail. But Chris Hook, the realist, fears that death is only inches away at any moment as his life spirals into a world of violence and racism.
Mark Liam Piggott is a talented and exciting writer; his novel is original, powerful and fast-moving, and takes his readers, all unprepared, into places they would probably have avoided had they been warned. But from page one it is too late – they are being hurtled along and cannot get off.
Read our interview with Mark Piggot.